Leanne Wood to face Plaid Cymru leadership challenge

Leanne Wood is to be challenged for the job of Plaid Cymru leader by one of her fellow Assembly Members with another likely to follow shortly.

Rhun ap Iorwerth has confirmed that he intends to stand in the contest to be held this summer.

The party's rules allow for a contest to be held every two years if members want it. The window for that option closes tonight (Wednesday 4th July).

Ms Wood has been leader of Plaid Cymru since 2012. She's said she will fight the challenge 'with a positive platform' and intends to be First Minister after 2021.

The other likely contender Adam Price hasn't yet said if he will challenge but has urged his party to adopt a co-leadership model.

Rhun ap Iorwerth has set out his reasons for standing in this video that he's tweeted:

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A few weeks ago, Leanne invited a debate on the leadership of Plaid Cymru - the party of Wales, a debate that could lead to reaffirming her leadership or starting a new chapter in the history of the party.

Since then there's been much discussion about the merits of such a debate. Supporters and members of the party from all parts of Wales - from the south Wales valleys to the north and mid-Wales, from the west to Cardiff - have encouraged me to allow my name to go forward. That encouragement has come from people at all elected levels, but mainly from ordinary party members, including some who, I'm quite sure, will back Leanne!

And that's the point - this should be a constructive debate, a positive one that can energise the party and the country, and it's in THAT spirit that I am accepting the nominations. And in the spirit of real excitement and passion about the future of our country.

So let's discuss different visions, different styles, and different ideas. My commitment is to Wales, and to a fairer and more prosperous future for the country. Plaid Cymru HAS to lead the way to that new, confident Wales, and over the coming weeks we can discuss openly and democratically how best to deliver the most effective and most exciting leadership for the party and the nation.

Thank you, and I look forward to it.

– Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, Plaid Cymru

At the beginning of the week, Rhun ap Iorwerth and Adam Price, set out some of their ideas about the way the party needs to develop. You can read their articles in full here.

Rhun ap Iorwerth said that the party needs to change to become 'a people- and ideas-driven movement in which those on the left and over towards the centre can feel equally comfortable.'

While Adam Price said that Plaid has 'generally failed to consistently articulate a comprehensive and compelling vision of the future' and that to move forward it should have two leaders in future.

He'd also suggested that he wouldn't challenge if his proposal for Plaid to have two leaders were adopted.

Last night Leanne Wood issued this statement in response to his proposal:

I have always been in favour of collective leadership, of using all the talents at our disposal to get the best for Wales and its people. We have fantastic ability within our ranks - from our grassroots members, our town and community councillors, our county councillors and all the way up to our AMs and MPs.

The Assembly group today stated that any proposal for a system of co-leadership would be a decision for the party and its membership. I am keen to discuss further how we can build a stronger collective leadership, and we need time to consider different options in a spirit of comradeship through the democratic processes of the party. The membership must decide how we move forward to achieve our goals.

Wales faces huge challenges and that's why we need a Plaid Cymru government more than ever. I want to lead this party with a positive platform into the 2021 election and I intend to become First Minister. I've set myself a high bar, and I'm putting my job on the line for it.

Recent polls show that under my leadership and through working hard as a collective, we can take on Labour - as I did in the Rhondda - and win.

– Leanne Wood AM, Plaid Cymru leader

The proposal was discussed by Plaid Cymru AMs in a group meeting yesterday but they decided it should be a matter for members of the wider party.

The Plaid Cymru Assembly Group has discussed the proposal for co-leadership put forward.

Party leadership structures should always be considered for renewal and there is merit in exploring new ideas.

However, the Group agreed that such proposals are a matter for the party and its membership, rather than the Assembly Group.

– Plaid Cymru Assembly group

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